RiverWatch group reaches out

Local volunteers help steward water sources for the upcoming 2013 spring-summer season.

Local volunteers help steward water sources for the upcoming 2013 spring-summer season.

The ground is frozen, the creeks are shelving with ice, and water critters are still comatose, but two area RiverWatch groups are busy gearing up for the 2013 spring-summer season of taking water samples from our local streams and rivers.

“February and March are as busy as our sampling months,” said Addison County RiverWatch Coordinator Matthew Witten. “We are taking stock of last season’s results, completing our proposals for 2013 monitoring, and also gathering financial and volunteer support to continue our work.”  Lewis Creek Association’s Director Marty Illick explains, “The principle goals of this work are to determine water quality conditions in our watersheds and to take steps to solve problems and protect high quality waters. The growing partnership between citizen volunteers, the towns, and the state demonstrates a reliable and synergistic approach to stewarding our water resources.”

Both the LaPlatte Thorp Kimball Holmes and Addison County RiverWatch Collaboratives team up with town Conservation Commissions to request funds for ongoing citizen work at upcoming town meetings. Watershed towns including Shelburne, Charlotte, Lincoln, and New Haven town meeting warnings include such requests for financial support.

These two  RiverWatch groups are now planning springtime annual training sessions for volunteers. Witten said the Collaboratives are always looking for volunteers. “Water quality monitoring is a great way to get outdoors and in touch with local streams and their surroundings. It’s also an important and satisfying service to your community – there’s a lot of camaraderie in what we do.”

The Addison County training session is scheduled for Saturday, March 16, 9 am, at the Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC) in Middlebury. The Regional Planning Commission hosts RiverWatch meetings and provides water quality maps with funding from the Vermont DEC. The LaPlatte-TKH training session will be scheduled soon.

If you are interested in playing a part in getting to know our local streams and helping protect them, please contact ACRWC coordinator Matthew Witten at mwitten@gmavt.net, 434-3236; or LaPlatte –TKH RiverWatch coordinator Marty Illick at marty.illick@gmail.com, 425-2002.

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